US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017.
President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Getty Images
US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017. President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Now playing
01:24
Scaramucci: Trump probably wants Sessions out
Now playing
05:18
Anderson Cooper explains how he overcomes being shy
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:07
Bitcoin has an energy problem
Now playing
01:32
Scientists turned spiderwebs into music and it sounds like a nightmare
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Now playing
01:02
Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers question stumps 'Jeopardy!' contestants
Now playing
05:18
Coinbase CFO: We're an on-ramp to the crypto economy
Kristina Barboza
Now playing
03:09
Grieving mom's advice to other families: You can try to help, support and love
CNN
Now playing
02:12
'Too dangerous to do anymore': Sacha Baron Cohen on Borat
Christopher Hamilton
Now playing
01:01
Volcanologist shares what he prefers to cook on lava flows
John Avlon 0413 Wallace
CNN
John Avlon 0413 Wallace
Now playing
03:31
Avlon compares Tucker Carlson's comments to George Wallace
screengrab hong kong oscars
IMDB / Field of Vision
screengrab hong kong oscars
Now playing
02:50
Hong Kong won't air Oscars for the first time since 1968
Now playing
01:27
See the first community of 3D-printed homes
Burlington, MA Headquarters
Nuance
Burlington, MA Headquarters
Now playing
01:34
Microsoft to buy AI company Nuance
Now playing
02:50
Sleep doctor tells Anderson Cooper how long a power nap should be
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the quarterly CARES Act report on Capitol Hill December 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also testified at the hearing. (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the quarterly CARES Act report on Capitol Hill December 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also testified at the hearing. (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:06
Fed chief: The economy is about to grow more quickly
"Saturday Night Live" / NBC
Now playing
01:47
'SNL' sees Minnesota news anchors take on the Derek Chauvin trial

Story highlights

What Trump is doing to Sessions is the worst sort of bullying

He's attacking a subordinate knowing that he has no real recourse other than to resign his post

(CNN) —  

At 6:12 a.m. ET, the President of the United States tweeted this:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”

That came less than 24 hours after Trump had described Sessions as “beleagured” in another tweet and one day after he seemed to roll his eyes when asked about the attorney general in a photo-op with White House interns on Monday. It came six days after Trump told The New York Times that he would have never hired Sessions at all if he knew that the AG would recuse himself in the ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

It all reminds me of this scene from “The Simpsons” in which Homer beats the Krustyburglar nearly to death thinking he’s trying to steal:

“Stop, stop…he’s already dead,” cries one young onlooker as Homer continues to beat the lifeless Krustyburglar.

Jokes aside, what Trump is doing to Sessions is the worst sort of bullying. He’s attacking a subordinate – publicly and repeatedly – knowing that the subordinate has no real recourse other than to resign his post.

That appears to be, of course, exactly the outcome Trump wants. For all of his bluster, he’s not terribly fond of actually firing people – he prefers to isolate and embarrass them into quitting.

That, plus Trump’s potential fears of what it might look like if he fired the AG so soon after firing the FBI director – and with the Russia investigation still ongoing – seems to be at the root of Trump’s strategy here.

But, what Trump is doing to Sessions is more embarrassing for the former than the latter. Picking on someone who works for you is rarely a good look. And doing it via Twitter – while not being willing to speak to Sessions in person – is not the sort of stuff we have come to expect from a president.

If Trump thinks Sessions is doing such a bad job – as he clearly does – then he should fire him. That’s well within his powers as president.

What he’s doing right now is well beneath the office of president.

And, from a purely political perspective, it’s misguided. Sessions is beloved by Trump’s base as one of the original voices willing to speak out on the problems of undocumented workers in the United States. The likes of Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson have urged Trump to leave off the public bullying of Sessions.

Remember too that Sessions is a former member of the US Senate – a place where Trump badly needs some goodwill from Republicans on his health care bill among other things. Attacking one of their own is not the way to win the Senate’s heart.

Donald Trump has promised to be “modern day presidential.” It sure looks a lot like plain old bullying from here.